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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

“Jorge is not alone”

SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Direct bullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Non-especific
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:

Jorge is a 16 year old adolescent who lives in a small town. He is the shortest in his class; the typical shy youth who never attracts any attention. Academically, he has always been the student with the highest grades in the class. In general, he finds it difficult to make friends and others are always getting at him. In the class there is one boy, Pepe, who has made Jorge’s life a misery ever since the beginning of the first year of secondary education. He spends all day calling him “midget”, he is always pushing or tripping him when the class goes out at break time, and when school finishes he always takes any money Jorge is carrying. If Jorge doe not hand it over, Pepe punches him. Jorge has not told anyone about the situation for fear that it might get worse. He has even started to think it may be his own fault. Jorge feels as if he is the world’s unhappiest person. He thinks the only thing he does well in life is study. Jorge’s elder sister has realized that something is going on because when she got home from work last week Jorge was locked in his room, crying and saying he wished he was dead. The sister spoke to their mother, and the mother went to talk to Jorge’s school tutor to find out what was happening. The tutor said it was something quite normal, a typical case of horseplay among students that shouldn’t be taken seriously. The mother got angry and went to speak to the principal. As he wasn’t at school that day, she returned the next day. The principal was surprised at the tutor’s reply, and told Jorge's mother that he would talk to him and solve the problem. The next day, Pepe was waiting for Jorge at the entrance to the school. As usual, he demanded his sandwich and his money. He also pushed him hard against the wall, causing a cut in his forehead. He threatened him, warning him that if he told anybody things would get worse. During the morning, all the teachers who taught that class asked Jorge how he had cut his forehead. He told them he had bumped his head. In the changeover from one class to another, Jorge met the school counselor in the corridor. The counselor told him he would like to talk to him and asked him to accompany him to his office. There, they talked about what they could do to solve Jorge’s problem. The counselor suggested that Jorge got in touch with a group of students from the same school who had gone through the same experience as him. Jorge began to notice the support of his peers. He began to feel better and better, and finally he was able totally to ignore what Pepe did. And as a result, Pepe stopped bothering him.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

Regarding the strategies adopted by the different people involved to deal with this case of peer abuse: The answers given by the students coincide with regard to the actions of the bystanders: They did nothing. The strategies adopted by the teachers were described as follows. The teachers, and above all the tutor, did nothing because none of them foresaw the problem and nobody talked to the student in private to get to the bottom of why he had cut his head. The principal and the counselor reacted correctly to the situation. At the beginning, the tutor acted in the worst possible way, which was to play down the importance of this type of situation. When the mother went to the school she needed to be sure that that the teachers knew about the problem, that they were trying to find a solution and that they were concerned about her son’s feelings. When the case came to the attention of the principal and the counselor, the strategy adopted was to give the student the support he needed and to help him get out of this bullying situation. The principal thinks that she received the mother correctly and listened attentively to all the details about what had happened. She evidently informed the School Counselor of the problem, and it is to be assumed that she would have talked to the tutor to hear his version of his meeting with the victim’s mother. She also alerted the other teachers to the problem, because they were all clearly concerned on the day they asked Jorge what he had done to his forehead. She is sure that she supervised the case and implemented all the strategies necessary to address the different aspects of the problem. She also made sure that a report was produced and submitted to the corresponding authorities. The strategies adopted by the parents were: To talk to the corresponding people – the tutor, the principal – and to support the boy and not give up until a solution had been found to the situation. The school counselor believes he adopted a very effective strategy. Apart from supporting the adolescent himself (talking to him and discussing how to deal with the situation), he also offered him a group of peers who could provide him with help and support. This gave Jorge more confidence with which to face the situation.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

The students, parents, teachers, principal and school counselor believe that this situation influenced the learning and teaching process in the classroom. They also agreed on the consequences. Jorge could not think about anything else except for what Pepe was going to do to him. This is in a way relevant, because it has always been said that schoolteachers do not only teach content, but that it is also important to work on values such as respect, equality, inclusion, integration... Bullied students can stop concentrating on their studies and be affected by their fear of the bully. Their academic performance may be affected by their perception of the bully’s superiority. The situation affects the atmosphere that is created in the classroom and certainly does not only influence the victim and the bully. It creates inner conflict in those who witness the bullying and are torn between the need to try to help the victim and their own fear of the bully or their own relationship with the bully. The teacher is affected because part of his attention and thought is dedicated to finding a solution to the situation and returning to normality in the teaching and learning process. One teacher answered that he did not believe the situation affected teaching in the classroom. The principal says: Logically, a boy who is bullied at school has a way of learning and unlearning which differs noticeably from that which is planned for the group in general. Even so, I believe that it depends on his capacity to adapt to the situation. Once the existence of bullying is known, it is of course bound to affect the manner of teaching; it is also necessary to look at what the victim has learnt that may cause problems in the future. Here, I think the best thing is to go into the issue in detail at the school (via the counselor, the tutor and the teaching staff) and with the family and the student. To help the student face the future it is indispensable to open a forum for dialogue where he can freely talk about what he feels and thinks, about what has happened, about his own perception of the situation, and about the resulting fear. The parents think bullying produces an inferiority complex in the victim, generates a sense of unease and a bad atmosphere among the students themselves and between students and teachers, and negatively affects the normal rhythm of lessons in the class. Whenever interpersonal relationships are not governed by the principle of equality, a bad atmosphere will be created with abuse, tension... and much lower academic performance. But it can also depend on the personality of the student involved, and so the result can vary. The counselor said that the way we understand the teaching-learning process will affect the degree of importance we attach to the impact of interpersonal relationships on academic performance, school atmosphere, etc. Otherwise we will give less priority to the detection of these cases and, of course, to the implementation of preventive measures.
Regarding whether or not the situation affected the students’ motivation (interest, effort, etc.): Some of the people questioned think students’ motivation is influenced, and their answers coincide, but others think not: Because if you feel you are being bullied you will always be frightened and you will never have a moment of peace. It can exert a negative influence, especially on the victim, and on the concentration of anyone who is indirectly involved and who knows or is worried about the situation. The classmates will be less motivated to study because they will be afraid of drawing attention to themselves for their grades. There will be less influence if we can help Jorge to open up to the others and be accepted in the group. Knowing that you are going to school to suffer or to witness conduct of this type hardly encourages you to study or pay attention. It affects the victim’s psycho-affective-social integration in the group. A student who feels threatened and is terrified is not in a good position to make progress in the teaching-learning process, and is not in a suitable state to study, memories certain pieces of course content or participate in class...
Possible effects on the students’ results. The people questioned think that everyone is to blame. Their grades will be lower, because it is a problem that is not being solved. In the end they will all be the same or will simply prefer not to help their classmate because they are afraid of the bully. As the aggressor, the bully cannot be motivated to study and must be unable to learn effectively. In my opinion this is because he has some inner problem (he does not feel loved, family problems, lack of self-esteem and self-control...). The same is true of the victim. Since the situation has affected his self-esteem and his well-being he is unhappy having to go to school knowing that someone is going to bully and intimidate him every day. Also, he is insulted because of his physical appearance and his personality, so his grades cannot be good. The proof is that the student in question went so far as to say he wished he was dead. Perhaps the bystander students also feel this unease in their immediate environment and this makes them more distracted and affected by the situation, and worried because they don’t know what to do, whether to say something or not. So this might also be having a negative effect on school grades. A good atmosphere in the classroom or the school is the best way to guarantee better results. Otherwise, results will be negative – both academic results and relationships with classmates and in the family. It has a negative influence on them. Even if you are not the victim, seeing what is happening to another person and thinking that it could happen to you affects your performance at school and your relationships. In some cases a feeling of guilt also arises, for not having been able to stand up for a classmate who is being bullied. So it is a difficult situation, even if you are only a witness to what is happening.
Potential problems of classroom integration: All those questioned believe that there will be problems of classroom integration, with the exception of two students who think there will be no problems. The bullying victim feels isolated from the group. Those involved would not be accepted as friends by the others. If the student does not feel comfortable in the school environment, if they feel intimidated by a person and are being insulted and threatened, making them feel insecure, unhappy and therefore not totally integrated, they have no sense of well-being at school. Experiencing bullying creates inappropriate stereotypes that have a negative effect on social relationships. The other students don’t want to have anything to do with the victim for fear that they will be bullied too. The student who suffers violence or abuse does not feel confident and does not participate in class or in the school, and this is without doubt a situation of exclusion.
With regard to the possible impact of bullying situations in adult life, as manifest in forms of social behavior, everyone thinks that bullying does impact adult life. Their answers were as follows: If they get used to having a go at people they will see it as something normal. They will beat their wives when they grow up. They will continue along the same path they followed at secondary school. They will remember what they have experienced and they will behave the same. It affects development as an active citizen because the unease in the school environment is projected into other areas of life: family, friends, and other relationships that have to be conducted with other people during their lives. That situation makes the person insecure, with low self-esteem and of course that affects social relationships in general. This affects their work and their development as a person. Victims become more withdrawn, more insecure, with lower self-esteem, and that obviously affects what they will be like in the future, outside school. The fact that a student is bullied over a long period of time can considerably influence how they act in certain situations of tension that may arise in their adult lives. They may find it hard to integrate themselves in society. All abuses of other people’s rights, if they are not corrected early enough –especially those that can be dealt with in the school environment – unquestionably affect the type of citizens the system “creates”. Students are there to be molded, and their “shape as adults” to a large extent depends on their education and upbringing. If action is not taken in schools to counter bullying and to identify, address and find solutions to these cases the learning experience of the group will be totally negative, and they will become docile citizens comfortably shut off from the suffering of those around them as if it were none of their business; civically reprehensible citizens unable to realize that when you become involved in what happens to a neighbor, a friend, an acquaintance, an immigrant.... what you are really doing is assuming joint responsibility for what happens to them. And in the long run this attitude produces a dehumanized society with no collective future. Some think that it depends on the personality of each student and it depends on how they have faced the situation. If they have been supported by friends, like this boy, then they are bound to get involved. If they have had no support, they will certainly turn their backs on others' problems. During adolescence, it also depends on the way the people around them act and react.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the atmosphere at school: The students think it will make all their classmates start hitting each other, not because of the atmosphere in the school but because of the atmosphere in the class. The teachers and parents say that this student can obviously feel neither safe in the school environment nor at ease because he never knows when he is going to be intimidated again. This climate is not democratic because in this case there is no equality. “One is superior to the other” and while one shrinks back in the face of the situation (fear, low self-esteem, unhappiness) the other gets more daring, and this will continue until the situation is dealt with. A student in this situation is conditioned by the circumstances and the students around him also suffer, although to a lesser extent. The existence in the school of tense situations has the effect of destroying the good atmosphere of convivencia at the school. The students do not feel safe, they are afraid that new situations of violence may break out in which they themselves will be involved. The principal thinks that all acts that go against convivencia exert a negative influence in all areas associated with the atmosphere at school and with the students’ academic performance. The counselor thinks that this is undoubtedly a case of exclusion; it inhibits democratic participation and gives rise to a great sense of insecurity.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

With regard to the victim’s thoughts about the reasons why he is being bullied, the students think that Jorge considers himself to blame, and believes that if he tells anyone the situation may get worse. He’s not good at anything, only at studying. He didn’t tell anyone because he was frightened the situation would get worse.
Regarding the help the victim thinks he would find useful, the students expressed the following opinions: Talk to the tutor, tell his mother or father or his classmates. A meeting with the school board, because that would be best. Being backed up by a lot of people. He should tell someone, so they can help him. If he told someone, things would be better. But he daren’t because he is scared.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

Regarding why the bully acts in the way he does, the students think that it is because he is afraid the others lose their respect for him. Because he sees the student as the baby of the class. Because he is resentful but at the same time he feels important and superior to the others.
The students think that the bully chose that specific victim rather than anyone else because he was the cleverest and most intelligent in the class. Also because Jorge is weak and because Pepe knew he couldn’t do that with anyone else. Bullies usually pick on the weakest.
Regarding the bully’s remorse, the students think he is not sorry for what he has done: in some cases he is, but in general he isn’t. They say he only said he was sorry in front of the teachers so that the punishment would be less severe.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

The bystander students knew what was going on, but did not do anything through fear and because the bully told them not to say anything. They didn’t say anything because they didn’t want trouble with the bully.
Regarding what bystanders thought about the causes of the bullying and what they did. They think there was a lot of hate. Because Jorge was very clever. Because people are usually on the bully’s side even when he is wrong.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

Regarding the teachers’ awareness of what was going on: the teachers think they were not aware. None of them had realized what was happening and the tutor even considered it a case of adolescent “fooling around”. All too often we teachers just impart our lessons without wanting to do much more or get too involved. Cases of school bullying are difficult to spot because the victim and his classmates are threatened by the bully. Only the teachers invigilating breaks can spot cases of school bullying.
Regarding what the teachers did to find out and understand what was happening: The teachers say the tutor and the other teachers did nothing because they had not realized that this was a situation of bullying, a bullying problem. What's more, the tutor ignored the problem even after the mother had given him an idea of what was happening. When the principal learned about the situation, he did talk to the tutor and take action to solve the problem. The counselor spoke to the principal person involved, Jorge, and helped him and this solved the problem. They would act differently if they had been in the shoes of some of the people involved: if it was the tutor, they would not let students get away with this type of horseplay. Moreover, they would warn the other teachers, especially those who gave lessons to that particular class but also the rest of the teaching staff at the school, to be on the lookout and make sure that Pepe did not perpetrate any more cases of bullying. They would talk to Pepe and Jorge and their respective families, and would call in the principal, the head of studies and, above all, the counselor to help the two students. They would watch out for any signs or attitudes of conflict among the students when not in class: at break time, at changes between classes, when arriving at school and leaving, in any extracurricular activities, etc. Other teachers think that the teachers acted correctly, apart from the initial reaction by the tutor. The principal realized how serious the situation was and, after talking to the mother, got in touch with the counselor, who spoke to the student. The counselor put Jorge in contact with classmates who had been through the same experience and they gave Jorge the strategies to get out of this bullying situation. This could be counterproductive. The bully may take out his anger at being punished on the victim. The best solution was provided by the counselor when he integrated the student in a group of students who had already suffered from bullying, that way making the bully lose interest in bothering the victim. The victim must be aided through peer support. That way he will feel more protected and his confidence will grow. The bully must also be made to see that what he has done is wrong. Reprimand? Expulsion? They think it is best to give him a job of responsibility within the class, for example making him the person responsible for convivencia (harmonious relationships) in class.
Regarding the help contributed by other teachers: The teachers think that not many details have been given about the case, but Jorge was helped by the school counselor, a person I consider very important in a school because he/she organizes the way the school deals with diversity - a very important task. The Principal took the problem seriously and adopted measures to deal with it.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

The principal says he was not aware of the problem, and if he had known about it he would have acted earlier.
What should have been done in this situation. Once the situation was known, follow the standard procedure. The tutor should have taken the situation more seriously, and sooner. He should have at least shown some interest.
Regarding the principal’s role in this type of situations, the principal of this school thinks that his job is to manage the situation in general, supervising each step, monitoring meetings, keeping informed about what is going on throughout the procedure, being fully committed, evaluating the procedure and reporting on it to the corresponding authorities. Ensuring that strategies are established which will guarantee the correct handling of this case and of any others which may arise in the future.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

With regard to the parent’s awareness of what was happening: The parents say they did not know about it until Jorge’s sister told them. There was a lack of communication between the parents, their son and the school.
Regarding how parents would find out about what was happening and what information they would seek: By watching the son’s behavior, his relationship with his friends, I would ask my son about it, without pressurizing him too much.... they would talk to the tutor, to the counselor... the school management. I would ask the school staff and the people who knew the student for information.
Regarding whether the situation could be altered: The parents think that the situation could not have changed if Jorge had not found support from classmates who had already been through the same situation, with the help of the counselor. If the situation had come to light earlier, it may not have become so serious. Teachers could have noticed that Jorge was shy, introverted and had no friends. By not placing all the responsibility for the boy’s education and upbringing on the school, internet and television.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

With regard to what the counselor would do: Intervene, but not only with the victim. Direct action has to be taken with the bully. He has to know that his conduct is affecting one person directly and other people indirectly in a specific way and that he has to make up for this and change his attitude. Work must also be done with the classroom group to make it clear that this type of behavior is not acceptable at the school and to provide conflict resolution strategies.
To prevent this type of situation: Tutorials, whole-school campaigns... It is also important to work together with families. They have to know how the school works, and have the opportunity to participate, through the Observatorio de la Convivencia (Observatory for Harmonious Interpersonal Relationships), comisiones de convivencia (committees for harmonious interaction).
Regarding what could be done to improve communication and cooperation among students (and thus prevent school bullying in general). All the things mentioned above. I also consider classroom methodology an important aspect. We cannot expect students to collaborate among themselves if the classroom dynamics we foment are totally individualistic or even competition-based. Cooperative learning must be encouraged, because cooperation, solidarity and empathy also form part of the competence–based curriculum. Involvement in decision-taking and in agreements in the school and the classroom should also be encouraged.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

Bullying is perhaps the most worrying phenomenon that takes place in schools insofar that it affects not only the direct victims but also everyone else involved. The theoretical analysis reviews human aggressiveness field to lead to the peer microsystem which can only fully be understood in terms of group behavior and ecology.
Over the last few decades the problem of aggressive conduct among schoolchildren has become increasingly serious in all societies, to the extent that it is now a cause of great concern for teachers, families and for many children. The most widely publicized studies on this theme show that more than 15 per cent of primary and secondary school children are involved in bullying either as aggressors or as victims.
Violence has become an habitual way of handling certain situations of tension and aggressive attitudes are now considered justifiable thanks to the assimilation of certain behavioral patterns Only if human beings are seen as an open, flexible system will it be possible to understand that behavior is not determined exclusively by internal factors but that an individual's environment will constitute the ideal context in which different types of learning can take place. In this regard, the family and the school environment are the first two points of reference and models for social interaction, and as such they provide the ideal context in which children can learn about different attitudes, including aggressiveness. Schools, like all human organizations, are open systems with their own capacity for structuring and organizing their own climate of convivencia (interpersonal harmony).
Bullying often has many negative consequences: it begins gradually to sap your self esteem, it lowers academic performance, it creates feelings of anxiety, fear, insecurity and anguish, and the victim suffers isolation and sleep disorders. Bullied students consider the possibility of dropping out of school, and if the situation gets even more serious they may even attempt suicide. If a student is bullied at school it is unlikely that their parents and teachers will realize what is happening, because peer abusers choose times and places that are almost secret, such as breaks, bathrooms and when students are leaving the school at the end of the day. It is important for victims to break their silence, tell their parents, teachers and/or other people they trust what is happening and identify the people who are bothering them, even though the bullies are threatening them. They will find support in their loved ones. Bullying can only be fought through cooperation between all those involved teachers, parents and students... and by taking a positive approach.
Recommendations for preventing this type of antisocial situations include:
- Reorientating family values, and emphasizing that the time spent with the child and the efforts made to give them a good upbringing and education are the best things they can be given.
- Giving adolescents values, a sense of spirituality, culture, and the best of ourselves.
- Being loving but inflexible with regard to deviant behavior, listening to their problems, accompanying them in their suffering but guiding them towards a moral, social solution to their conflicts.
- Cultivating values and putting them into practice, so that the teenager of today – and the man of tomorrow - will not have an aggressive personality.
- Stop projecting and trivializing violence in TV programs and video games.
Some advice for families who believe their child may be involved in aggressive conduct or may be being bullied by their classmates:
 ... It is important to react calmly, without criticizing or assigning blame.
 Calmly encourage the child to talk and ask him/her to explain what is happening. It is important to recognize the importance and seriousness of the situation. Talk to the tutor at school.
 If the child is involved in aggressive conduct help him/her to see that they are going too far and that they are hurting a classmate. Help them to find non-aggressive ways of relating to others, and together try to establish why they act that way. If necessary, seek professional help.
 If the child is in the role of the victim, help him/her to see that what is happening is not their fault, that it could happen to anyone, and that between you you will all help him/her get over the problem. If necessary, seek professional help.
 It is important to let the school know about your concern and to collaborate in any measures adopted there. Together, try to find positive solutions for all those involved and give them time to put them into practice.
It is not easy to bring violence that has been evolving slowly to a quick, abrupt end, but work to improve the situation.
Action
Bullying at school can only be fought through cooperation between all those involved: teachers, parents, students, non-teaching staff...
General guidelines for measures that can be adopted at school
All actions aimed at improving interpersonal relationships in the school community are good practice. The awareness and active involvement of adults are key factors in the success of any action program.
A proposal for action is based on the following aspects and aims:
1. Non-accusatory approach (trying to re-individualize and assign responsibility)
2. Systemic perspective (act also on the group, to alter interactions)
3. Strategy (analysis of the situation, planning and brief, structured action)
4. Encourage resilience (find a solution to the problem that is positive for all those involved)
This global proposal, within the Plan for Convivencia, includes measures at three levels:
Primary prevention: general measures aimed at improving harmony, preventing conflictiveness and forestalling the appearance of bullying.
Secondary prevention: to nip incipient cases of bullying in the bud by implementing a specific action program addressing both individuals and the group of students (4 to 6 tutorial sessions)...
Tertiary prevention: for consolidated cases of bullying, to minimize their impact on those involved by implementing therapeutic measures (Anatol Pikas’ Shared Concern Method), support and protection for victims and support and control for aggressors.
Detection strategies and tools
1º. Systematic monitoring for indicators:
• In common areas at school and mainly in those spaces the least frequented and/or watched over by adults: playgrounds, changing rooms, bathrooms, corners in corridors...
• In the classroom, which is where most intimidatory conduct takes place.
• In complementary activities (excursions, camps, workshops...).
• On the school bus or at non-class times (in the dining room, during sports activities, cultural activities...)
2º. Gathering of information from different sources:
• The group’s teachers (interviews, questionnaires...).
• Families (interviews).
• Non-teaching staff at school (questionnaires, interviews).
• Dining room staff. (interviews).
• Students. (individual interviews, sociometric tests, results of votes, tutorial activities...).
3º. Structures for reporting and complaining:
• Suggestions box.
• Telephone helpline.
• Conflict management team, Commission for Convivencia, antibullying committee.

ACTION:
Action with the victim
• Be discreet when implementing measures or carrying out certain actions, in order not to attract the attention of the others or place the victim in a situation of risk.
• Avoid openly talking about the bullying situation in class in a way which may make the victim feel self-conscious, ashamed or humiliated.
• Protect the victim throughout the whole action program:
either by increasing supervision and invigilation by teachers during breaks, lunchtimes, in bathrooms, changing rooms, and when students are entering or leaving the school
or by having groups of supportive companions (created and briefed previously) accompany the victim, above all at the times of greatest risk.
• Arrange individual meetings with the victim and with other companions to facilitate communication and the open exchange of views.
• Develop specific social skills programs (defending one’s own point of view, assertiveness, defending rights, asking for help...)
• Boost socio-affective links by designing recreational and work activities at school to allow the student to demonstrate those social skills and interact positively with others.
• Apply the “circle of friends” strategy to foment the victim’s inclusion in groups of students.
Action with the bully.
• Ensure that bullies also receive the help they need. It must be remembered that bullies may act the way they do for several reasons: they do not have the necessary social skills to interact with their peers, and have learned to base their interpersonal relationships on dominance-submission patterns.
• Design and carry out individual interviews analyzing the situation and its consequences for those involved. Help the bully make pro-change decisions (taking special care in these situations not to transmit coercitive, aggressive or threatening models).
• Very clearly define conduct which will not be tolerated and establish limits to what is allowed.
• Help the bully understand how the victim feels (empathy).
• Implement intensive social skills training programs (covering assertiveness, conflict identification and resolution...).
• Help the victim relate to others as part of the group and the environment, and to assume the corresponding responsibilities.
• Launch behavior change programs: negative consequences, making up for the harm inflicted, loss of the chance to take part in certain activities (excursions, camps...).
• Apply cognitive techniques (self-control training...).
Action with bystanders:
• Clearly define the intimidatory and bullying behavior which should be reported.
• Analyze the consequences of this type of conduct for the whole group.
• Clearly define the role played by bystanders in these situations.
• Teach them the difference between standing up for justice and being a telltale.
• Develop their emotional empathy by getting them to put themselves in someone else’s place.
• Show them how to ask for help, and how to overcome their fear of being called telltales or even of becoming victims themselves.
• Tell them about the possibilities and resources available in the school for reporting situations of intimidation absolutely confidentially (telephone helpline, suggestions box, conflict resolution committee...).
Action with the class:
• Let the students in the class know that no form of aggression will be tolerated.
• Design antiviolence projects: campaigns, slogan competitions...
• Teach the students in the class how to name and express their feelings.
• Create and encourage an atmosphere at school in which abusive behavior (“gender” violence, mobbing...) is rejected, through work sessions that address the problem indirectly using adapted manuals, role-playing, stories...
• Set up tutorial activities created beforehand by other authors. For example: "¿Seguir el rollo es lo que vale?, Declaración Universal de los derechos de la clase, ¿No se puede hacer nada?, Conocidos, compañeros y amigos." (“Going along with it is what counts? Universal Declaration of Classroom Rights, Can’t something be done?, Friends, classmates, acquaintances”) (Ortega, 2000)
• Implement peer support strategies like “Circle Time” (Mosley, 1996)
• Create support groups: supervisors, tutors of other children, class assistants, break monitors…
• Encourage positive interrelationships between students and the assumption of personal and group responsibilities.
• Encourage group cohesion with different activities (parties, projects, culture week...).
• Foment healthy forms of companionship and solidarity among the students.
• Encourage the integration of all the students in the group and the development of pro-social skills through cooperation-based tasks.
Action with families
• Ensure that absolutely all affected families are included in the quest for a solution, and request their collaboration. Do not allow parents to feel they have little or no support or to launch individual initiatives with little consensus, which may worsen their child’s situation.
• Meet each of the families of the affected students individually to inform them about the situation and the measures being adopted by the school. Avoid looking for guilty parties, and concentrate on obtaining positive commitments.
• It is not advisable to discuss these issues in general parent-teacher meetings.
• Help families to analyze the situation realistically, neither minimizing the importance of what has happened nor exaggerating the consequences.
• Give families space and opportunities to talk about their feelings.
• Counsel families to encourage permanent dialogue between parents and their children.
• Offer guidelines which will help them to address their child’s situation in an appropriate manner.
• Emphasize the importance of being alert with regard to their children's behavior.
• Conduct a smooth, continuous family-school relationship in order to be able to coordinate action.

Prevention of new attacks:
• Creation and dissemination of structures and resources for receiving reports and complaints: suggestions box, telephone helpline, antibullying committee...
• Teacher training to cover conflict management and the teaching of personal and social interaction skills.
• Student training in skills which will allow them to interact in an appropriate manner (active listening, assertive defense of opinions, requests, rejections...)
• Create students’ commissions, with representatives from all levels, to be involved in developing positive convivencia at school.
• Involve parents in the structures and measures being implemented at school to improve convivencia.
The realization that collective problems cannot be solved individually requires new forms of cooperative learning, intra-peer learning: in practice “nobody teaches anybody, and nobody learns alone, but rather we all both teach and learn in communion with others”. At the same time, making justice, freedom, convivencia and peace visible in everyday life is inseparably linked to the ongoing exercise of dialogical and cooperation skills. To conclude: if formal and informal educational institutions shy away from their responsibility, if our schools do not act each and every day to reinforce the ideas of democracy, tolerance and solidarity, it will not be possible to solve the problems which today face Mankind both in local communities and on a global scale.



CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

All agents think that this situation will affect the adult bullying, because the way they act in society as active members of it will depend on education and the situations experienced in childhood, so if these situations are bullying well attended and influence will grow in all aspects of life of both the aggressor and the victim and bystanders. On the other hand, there is consensus on the need to help the victim, and it is essential that it not only feel the support of his family and teachers, but also from their peers, allowing you to feel more confident himself and out of this situation of bullying.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Хорхе не е сам.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 30.03.2012

Posted by: Marta Cortés Pozas
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

This case can be generalized to others and almost always when we have problems in our center in any case of violence, usually tries to take measures to help the victim and I feel very positive and I think he should do that, yet also I think the stalker must also stop the harassment, must realize that what you are doing is not acceptable and not well, perhaps we should consider plans that include relief work for both the victim and the harasser, because it is clear the problem is with the victim, but the origin of all is the perception that the harasser regarding your way of thinking and acting.

Date: 27.03.2012

Posted by: Jésica Ramírez Medina
Type of school: Secundary School
Country: Spain

I completely agree with the comment made by Professor Kerton, because in my opinion is essential and necessary, in addition to help in any way possible to the victims (the harassment), retrain and redirect the attitude of bullies. This particular case is a case of bulliyng which focuses also on trying to bully with various activities and support groups to try to bring them back so that they understand the importance of their actions on the lives of their victims .

Date: 24.03.2012

Posted by: A Kerton
Type of school: Comprehensive 11-18
Country: UK

I am concerned that, although Pepe stopped bothering Jorge, he has not learnt that his behaviour towards another student was unacceptable.

It would also be interesting to hear what the Headteacher said to Jorge's Tutor regarding his perception of what is acceptable "horseplay". In the UK we have an organisation that protects animals from cruety!

I would have liked to have seen Pepe involved in some kind of restorative justice where he would learn something about how humans should behave and respond to each other. Common courtesy costs nothing and we all appreciate being treated courteously.

Date: 23.03.2012

Posted by: Mª Ángeles Lobatón Ayala
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

I agree with what is mentioned by other teachers. Form peer support groups, often have very positive effects, making the victim less vulnerable. Those skills will be necessary to enhance the victim that may help raise your autestima, for example accompanying other students with lower abilities to him.

Date: 16.03.2012

Posted by: ELZA GHEORGHIU
Type of school: VASILE ALECSANDRI High School
Country: ROMANIA

The case is typical: a shy child being taken advantage of by a stronger one. It is difficult to prevent such incidents. Shy people are in most cases an easy target. I really appreciated the school’s buddy system; it is very effective. Pairing students up often discourage bullying. No bully wants to deal with a group; one person is an easier prey. The shy child feels safe in the company of his peers. In addition to this, pairing up may be the beginning of a friendship. Having friends means sharing and exchanging ideas and experiences. I have noticed that once shy children have made friends they become more confident and learn to deal with their shyness. As a result, they are less vulnerable.

If teachers were able to extend the buddy system to the whole school such incidents would no longer be possible or if they were, pupils would tell each other about it and help the ones in need. It’s about helping each other and not doing to others what you don't want others do to you.

The school counsellor is another solution which should not be ignored. She is always a very helpful person in such cases. She has the necessary expertise to investigate the case; speak with all parties involved; work together with both families to find solutions. Not only the victim but also the bully needs help.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: Stephen Brogan
Type of school: Catholic Comprehensive Academy
Country: UK

This is a a typically sad story of a bully targeting a weaker and more timid individual. What I find most striking is that the tutor put this incident down to 'horseplay' without a thorough investigation, which would have taken much time, something I am sure that the tutor did not have! I think this is typical of this incident because in schools, there quite simply are not enough staff members, with enough time to deal with these issues in the way they need to be dealt with. In an ideal world, there would be more staff members in schools to deal with bullying and to try to resolve situations in a more effective and efficiant way. s is often the case, it is the 'quiet students,' who are targeted.

I was exteremly impressed by the school's peer-support system, which seems to be effective and I would be interested to see how the school used this system and how they implement it. In our school, we do have a similar 'buddy' style system where we pair up a student who has been in a similar situation as a target or ever a perpertrator, depending on the situation.

I would also like to meet the parents of the boy, who clearly played a crucial role in the incident and ensuring that there was a resolution to the issue.

The decision to inform all staff and get them all on board was clearly a good one and the more people know about and can be aware of the situation the better.

I think it is very dificult to prevent incidents like this as it is such a common occurence, but it is something that must be combatted as a 'cultural' issue within the school. This would come about through the education of all students, so that the school becomes a 'helping/telling school,' so that students like Jorge do not feel like they need to deal with these issues alone.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Domenica Crupi
Type of school: Ist. Comprensivo S. Teresa di Riva - Secondary school
Country: Italia

In my school there was a similar case in which a weak and small child, but very intelligent and studious, was mocked, vilified and sometimes insulted by some particularly unruly class mates or with big social and family problems behind .
There were no particular differences between the strategies used in the school of the case analyzed and my school. The main support was provided by the class tutor, who, once discovered the situation immediately alerted the headmaster, who in turn immediately called an extraordinary council of classroom in order to decide the appropriate strategies to deal with the delicate situation. Even the victim's family has done its contribution, helping their child and working with the school.
From here you can learn that all the teachers have to monitor and evaluate the progress of teaching the class but also to try to establish a dialogue with the class, take care of all pupils, but especially the weakest because they are the first to have difficulties.
In each school, you must enable the courses to raise awareness and concrete action to update all the teachers.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Carmen Carneiro Rodríguez
Type of school: Secundary School
Country: Spain

Currently I have a student in 3rd year of a similar problem. The student in question has notes and proud of it. It belongs to a poor family of the people with economic problems (as she herself says) and, as I know, about her and her family are very nice stories in the village. His parents have just divorced, I think so traumatic. She said she did not want to be with his mother and two brothers who make up the family have stayed with the father.
The girl is aware of all the rumors and stories that are about her and her father and I think he thinks that the only way out of this situation and improve in life is through the study. Does not have much sympathy among peers because in some way claims to their qualifications and engaged in a competition with those who can make shadows. It's working, she enjoys writing and usually wins all the awards and high school literary competitions of which comes with the pressure to always win. I like to feel different from others in this regard.
His only friends are two sisters, good girls, educated, structured and exemplary family at all. I would like to have a similar environment. Outside the school, as I said, is isolated.
The problem came a couple of months or so. We spent a joke putting his backpack in the trash, throwing around the room and putting trash in it. As a result of the joke, the bag broke and then the problems started. She went to the Head of Studies and address along with his father to claim the damage in materials and require a new backpack. Was investigated and apparently the joke devised her friends while handling the backpack did other students. When parents involved claimed the amount of the backpack they refused (except one) for several reasons: his children did not participate, they were just witnesses had not touched the bag (even if they had devised the joke) or their childern things were broken and they had not claimed.
From this moment, the girl has made a void in the class, because the kids have the idea that these are normal jokes, damage and even small thefts between them. They argue further that the backpack was old and what the student wants is a new advantage of the situation. Do not believe their father can not buy one and hold it to be and should not have claimed anything, consider it an accident.
I think the student is sorry to have claimed, or at least you did with such vehemence. The problem remains unsolved.
This has shown that damage to materials students are common, not only for those who do not have the sympathy of others, but for everyone. Sometimes the damage to objects or facilities pose a revenge of the students.
The fact is known by the Education Team, the Directorate, the Head of Studies, all have worked but the problem remains unsolved.
I think the solution is complicated in the issue of damages, theft, breakage, destruction, especially when they hide personal quarrels among students.

Date: 29.02.2012

Posted by: Naile Zaimova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

We have had a similar situation in our school with students from 9th grade. A newcomer from a nearby village – Peter – has some problems adapting to his classmates, because he is physically weaker and shy. Eventually he becomes the student with the highest grades in the class. The behavior of the others is negative, they mock him and do not care about him. They call him “book worm” and a “bootlicker”. The whole class decided to take advantage of Peter’s knowledge and forces him to tell the answers during tests, to write homework and to try and help them in any possible way, even if this would hurt him. Peter was shy and his parents failed to notice that he has some adaptation problems. His brother is the one who got curious and asked enough questions in order to understand if Peter has problems with the class. Peter’s brother tells their parents and the entire family discusses the issue and Peter is convinced that he should believe in himself and trust that his classmates will eventually accept him. Peter is advised not to serve his classmates on every occasion and not to overlook his own needs because of them. The form tutor like in Jorge’s case is the one who notices how bright Peter is and how unfair the attitude towards him. He shared with other teachers and Peter was included in a project for development and model of the school. He was selected as a flag-carrier of the school and he was assigned other tasks in order to feel more secure and confident. The school staff focused on involving him in teamwork and included him in a number of groups for problem solving. The solutions in our case and in Jorge’s case are effective and we support them. As a result of all the work we did, Peter’s classmates understood how smart and talented Peter is and that they can trust him. They start to respect him because of his qualities. They rely on him when they find it hard to comprehend the material. Peter starts to communicate more easily and the barrier is lifted.
Like in Jorge’s case, the classmates were reprimanded by the form tutor because of their behavior. The school psychologist conducts a discussion on the topic “The class – unity of variety”.
We consider that training on bullying prevention and combating is necessary and which is more important it should become a part of the official program for teacher training.
In our case, just like in Jorge’s case, there is isolation and harassment towards one students, but there is not physical bullying.
Such cases are quite typical, because they are related to communication problems between students and are observed often.

The demonstrated violence disrupts the training program, demotivates the children, ruins the psychological environment in the class and leads to lower grades.
The prevention strategies to be used according to us, are:
- discussions on the topic of violence connected problems;
- intensification of group work in the class;
- keeping a record of and monitoring the problematic students.

Date: 12.02.2012

Posted by: Petia Marcheva
Type of school: Specialized education
Country: Bulgaria

In this case, just like in the case analyzed at our school, a boy, which is not really popular among his school mates, is bullied by a stronger aggressor. For a long term the victim undertakes no actions and does not share his misery with anyone, in fear that the bully may find even crueler methods of torture. When he finally finds strength to share with the school counselor, he receives the invaluable support of a group of students from the same school, who have already gone through similar acts of violence and bullying, and who have not only found strength to cope with this and go on with their lives, but also to mutually help and support each other as well as each new member of this community of victims.
The approach is extremely interesting and according to us applicable in Bulgarian schools. As teachers and psychologists we are interested in more details about the approaches of formation of such school communities for mutual support.

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